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    Categories: Local News

Postal strike possible, to begin in Alberta

POSSIBLE STRIKE – Canada Post mail service is facing another potential disruption as both the Crown corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers continue to negotiate salary for rural carriers and proposed changes to pensions for new employees.

Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal workers agreed late Monday to extend mediation efforts another 24 hours.

This is the second extension in as many days.

Late Sunday, the union said it was putting its plan to begin a rolling overtime ban on hold to continue talks with the Crown corporation. The job action was supposed to begin Monday in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

The union and Canada Post have been negotiating a new collective agreement for the past nine months.

A federally appointed mediator began working with both parties Friday after CUPW issued a 72-hour strike notice. The goal was to reach an agreement over the weekend.

When this was not achieved, Minister of Labour MaryAnn Mihychuk reappointed special mediator William Kaplan for up to two more days – until Tuesday Aug. 30.

Both sides agreed late Sunday to extend the talks for 24 hours at the mediator’s request. Then, late Monday, they agreed to another 24-hour extension.

This postponed the union’s planned job action to Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 12:01 a.m.

Employment changes, including cuts to maternity benefits, vacation time and short-term disability leave announced by Canada Post last week are also postponed until Wednesday, at which point the union’s collective agreements become null.

Last week, Canada Post suspended its fees for specified delivery start date – a neighbourhood mailing option – stating that they “can no longer guarantee a fully operational network” due to the union’s anticipated job action. The Crown corporation is concerned that refusal to work overtime could delay deliveries.

As of press time, it was unknown whether a strike would take place beginning Wednesday morning.

Gazette plans

The St. Albert Gazette will still be available in the event of a mail disruption.

St. Albert, Morinville, and Cardiff will not be affected by a strike or lockout, since these areas are covered by door-to-door delivery by Gazette carriers. However, there are about 4,300 subscribers in Sturgeon County who receive the newspaper through Canada Post. If mail delivery is suspended, news boxes will be placed at strategic locations.

A map is available on the Gazette website at stalbertgazette.com/distribution.

There is a small number of national subscribers who won’t be able to receive the paper if there is a disruption. An e-edition of the Gazette is available on our website.

Michelle Ferguson: